YOUR ARTICLE ABOUT H.H. Leonards’ private club on O Street NW (“When a Neighborhood Gets Clubbed,” 3/15) gives the impression that our neighborhood is divided into two armed camps: club members, and local residents who oppose Leonards’ activities. In fact, many of us on O Street who don’t participate in these activities nevertheless support Leonards.
The article cites parking, crowds, and noise as the consequences of Leonards’ business operation. This is absurd. Street parking one block from the bars and eateries on P Street is virtually nonexistent in the evening and would remain so if Leonards were to shut down her business tomorrow. As to crowds and noise, they too result from the P Street spillover. The proliferation of drunken revelers, screaming adolescents, and panhandlers—not to mention muggers, burglars, and the occasional murderer—is a serious problem on O Street. In this situation, Leonards’ clients are a welcome addition to the street scene. Their presence makes the neighborhood safer and more civilized for all of us.
Although not directly relevant, some of Leonards’ other activities bear on the matter. She organized our neighborhood crime watch, has brought police officers and others to speak to local residents, makes her home available for public meetings, and even cleans up the sidewalks after the garbage collectors have picked up the trash. We need more people like her if we want our downtown neighborhoods to survive as viable communities.